Lust for Life

Yesterday was brilliant.  We had a fabulous meeting with our daughter’s lovely teacher – I love her candor and humor, it’s very refreshing.  I’m so proud of my little girl it makes me teary eyed.  In order to try and engender the association of achieve and reward we went out to our favorite diner for dinner and had milkshakes all round, it was a lovely family evening.  We were all exhausted afterward though, so it was an early bedtime for the kids and another recorded episode of Downton Abbey for me:)

It was a struggle to get out of bed this morning and I didn’t have time for an invigorating run due to a hairdressers appointment.  Armed with my photos of Ginnifer Goodwin I arrived and demanded my shorter cut.  My hairdresser is fabulous and always seems to understand my descriptions and then refines them to best suit me.  If you are in Atlanta and in need of a great hairdresser, who is humorous and conversational too, then seek out O’Neil at Van Michael in Virginia Highlands – you will love him I promise.

To coordinate with my shorter style I wore my Gap black jeggings, Frye Shirley Strappy Short boots, AllSaints Char jumper and my lovely Boden military jacket.  MM encouraged my shorter style, though has since made comments suggesting I should be in Roxette or that I’m channeling David Bowie’s Berlin era – maybe I’ll try a more feminine look tomorrow:)

Bowie Low

Similarity?

Boden military jacket

Before haircut.

HaircutHaircut

After haircut.

 

Is spring here already?

This time of year in Atlanta presents a real challenge when it comes to dressing.  This morning it was below freezing yet this afternoon will be in the mid to high 60s…I also had to think a little more carefully as we’re off to see my daughter’s teacher this afternoon for a ‘conference’ – just a regular update on performance – but I still feel I should make a little bit of an effort.  So I opted for Boden’s clearance revelation, the Retro tunic in pink, M&S brown cable tights (kindly sent by my wonderful Mum – some things just can’t be matched over here – tights and Mums!) and the brown piped shoe boots, topped off with Boden’s dark brown leather blazer, currently in the sale.  The belt is a couple of years old from Target and I like to wear it sometimes instead of the knitted belt that came with the tunic.  The tunic is a lovely knit and pretty warm – and this winter I have discovered the joy of wearing a dress and how much more comfortable they can be than jeans every day.

Now off to school – let’s hope I don’t show her up…

Retro pink tunicRetro tunic with leather blazer

Music that inspires…

It was a good run this morning and a great feeling to burn off some of last night’s calories.  What can be better on a Sunday morning than pounding the streets in glorious sunshine with blue skies?  It wasn’t that warm at 10am this morning but gorgeous non the less.  To help me on my way was another country foot tapper – Dwight Yoakam’s “Guitars, Cadillacs” – the beat is perfect for getting up the last hill on my 4mile loop.  Don’t ask me how Dwight gets in those jeans though….

When I’m Cleaning Windows.

After a great work out yesterday morning, and no emotionally scarred children left in the swimming pool, Saturday turned into a day of ticking chores off my list and having fun.  The weather was just glorious here – as it is today – sunshine all day with clear blue skies.  I decided to get one of my outside chores completed and clean my windows – dull I hear you say? – Well yes – but they haven’t been done in the four years we’ve been in this house, so job done, and I saved $500 on a window cleaner which can now be allocated to my closet;)

I was pretty tired after waving my extendable squeegee around but after a refreshing shower and a glass of white I was ready to head out with friends for dinner.  The six of us went to a very popular restaurant here on the West Side called Miller Union.  The West Side is an area of Atlanta that is being rejuvenated and as far as I am concerned is where some of the best restaurants in the City are located.  I’d been to Miller Union once previously and I was excited for MM to try it.  We were in good company so we had fun but I have to be honest I found the food overpriced and a tad disappointing.  My starter of watercress and blue cheese salad was good, and not easy to to get wrong, but my entree of grouper, though tasty was a bit cold.  I should have sent it back but in my very British, no fuss, manner I ate it – plus we’d had a long wait between courses as they were so busy so I didn’t want another long wait while everyone else ate…Then the bar didn’t have any Amaretto for me – surely every bar stocks Amaretto for those of us that love that sickly, sweet tincture?  I don’t think we’ll be heading back in a hurry, there are better, more reasonably priced restaurants in my opinion.  A shame, as I really like their decor and the patio looks great for Spring.

For my ‘going out’ ensemble I chose the Boden Silk Flower tunic in navy, piped shoe boots, Johnnie B leather jacket and my YSL clutch that was my Anniversary present from MM last year.  I love this tunic and it is in the clearance now – not hugely discounted – but I still ended up buying both the navy and the raisin.  It’s lovely jersey and is really comfortable and the silk flowers are not too brash but add some fun detail.  My only concern is that it is hand wash and I am terrified about how the silk flowers will come out – I don’t want to be ironing petals for an hour…

Silk flower tunicSilk flower tunic, Johnnie B jacket and YSL clutch

Now I’m off to Skype my parents to find out about their cruise to South Africa that they have just returned from – alright for some hey?  Plus, I’ll no doubt find out what they think about their daughter telling all in Poppy’s Style:)

Music that inspires…

Yesterday I was late to pick my daughter up from the pool and when I arrived she was with her instructor, in tears and panic stricken that Mommy had abandoned her, left the building and forgotten all about her.  I felt like the worse Mom in the World.  I think I managed to convince her that due to the fact I think of her every minute of the day I am unlikely to ever forget about her.  However, given the emotional scars that I left her with yesterday I was extremely cognizant of the time today as I ran on the treadmill while she was swimming again.  I tried to run a fair bit faster to get rid of some the cold germs and work off some calories before going out for dinner tonight.  Hence my shuffle was skipped through until I found some faster tempo music.  Today’s song is Gram Parsons “I Can’t Dance” – MM heard me playing it just now and said wow that is so Camden – so obviously we played it a lot back then in our heady partying days pre-parenthood.  Due to the age of the song and the brevity of Gram’s life I couldn’t find footage of a live performance on You Tube but here’s the tune – enjoy:)

“Generally really cool and smart”

Well the play date yesterday was fabulous.  We had a riot – it was so much fun.  My friend has 3 boys, the eldest is my daughter’s age and her middle boy is at daycare with my son.  The weather wasn’t great but I was prepared (unusual for me!).  I had bought a disposable, plastic, party tablecloth to avoid substantial mess, and let them loose with the paints, stickers and sequins – they loved it!  Then they watch Roald Dahl’s The BFG while the Moms enjoyed a glass of sauvignon blanc – very civilized:)  It’s so nice and refreshing being in the company of someone that ‘gets me’.  There are some real over achievers in Atlanta when it comes to parenting and I am not one of them.  I don’t have the craft room, the hand sanitizer, nor do we recite our times tables in French every day.  I am a regular Mom that sometimes barely gets through the day – so to spend some time with another Mom who has some of the same anxieties about parenting as I do is lovely and we ameliorate each other’s irrational concerns.   She is also stunning, hilarious and great company and much fun was had by all.

Today I woke with a sniffle and scratchy throat bleeeuuugh.  I’m sure the Atlanta weather is helping the germs breed – it is so warm and yet damp – lovely.  So I had to postpone my lunch with a friend that I was really looking forward to – but it turns out this was a good thing as I then got a call from school that my daughter was in the Nurse’s room.  After a moment of panic it turns out all was well and she had bumped her head playing.  The nurse said she’d be fine to stay at school but when I spoke with her she was very weepy.  So it being a Friday and all, I went to collect her, then we called at our favorite take away place for lunch and we’ve just eaten an obscene amount of chocolate cake between us.  I love having her home when it is just the two of us.

Fortunately the nurse called after I had colored my hair.  It could have been quite messy had she called an hour earlier while I was standing naked in the bathroom covered in hair dye – the things we do for the sake of beauty/vanity.  In the summer I tend to go to the salon to get my hair colored as when it comes to summer highlights it’s far easier and less likely to result in a dyeing disaster.  In the winter when I opt for a single color it is less time consuming and certainly cheaper to do it myself.  I tried a new home kit this time to try to reduce the mess – Clairol Nice ‘n Easy Foam in medium ash brown.  The product is great to use – I love the non drip foam but all I can say is I’m quite glad I didn’t opt for a darker tone – this has gone REALLY dark – not sure the ‘medium’ adjective is entirely accurate.  Fortunately MM prefers me as a dark brunette and I like the Urban Dictionary’s definition.

Given I feel a bit sorry for myself today I decided to wear something cosy yet cheerful.  I’m wearing my aqua stripy Boden jumper that I snatched up in the sale before Christmas.  These jumpers were REALLY popular and sold out very quickly.  I vacillated for a long time, as I thought they were too similar to my Breton tunics from last year, and I missed out initially, but the aqua and rose came into stock in the sale and I swooped and scored again.  Today’s Revas are a pair I’ve had a couple of years and probably wear more than any others – they are “Mouse” which is a lovely neutral grey and goes with anything.  I keep waiting for them to do this color again so I can replace these as the soles are getting thin…

Boden stripy jumper

Now I’m looking forward to a very lazy evening with MM in front of a movie – it feels like it has been a long, busy week.  Happy Friday!

Be good to your customers.

I was thrilled to head home with a new pair of jeans yesterday!  I had bought a pair of Hudson Collins last April and while wearing them over Christmas I bent down and the knee completely split!  After 8 months of infrequent wear I certainly didn’t expect that for an almost $200 pair of jeans.  So being the Social Media addict that I am I left a note on their Facebook page and was directed to email their customer services.  After returning the damaged pair they sent me a completely brand new pair of jeans – isn’t that brilliant?!  It just goes to show it is always worth asking and not just accepting.  I have found more and more brands and companies are responding to customer issues via social media before any bad news travels virally.  As great as social media can be for a brand it can also kill it in an instant if you are not seen to respond to a customer appropriately.  This article clearly demonstrates the damage that can be done:)  Also doing the rounds yesterday on Facebook was this fab story regarding Sainsbury‘s response to a young customer.  As a side note, if you are also a Hudson fan, I just received and email today about their 30% off end of season sale.

The meeting with our contractor went well – first check signed and handed over – yikes!  Now the design for our new master bathroom begins.  I think I might start an ‘inspiration board’ and take a look at Pinterest for some ideas…I can’t wait to see the final design that will include my lovely soaking tub.  I’ve also subscribed to all the home magazines like HGTV and Dwell – I can see this becoming another thing to obsess about.  In addition to the bathroom all our hardwoods are being refinished and stained, and the floors in the couple of rooms that are still carpeted are being replaced with hardwoods – I can’t even bear to think about the mess and dust that this project will create – the finished product should be worth it though!

My choice of clothes today was influenced by a) the forecast of rain all day and b) a play date for the kids today – we’ve got 3 boys coming round so no doubt I will be scrambling around on the floor a lot picking things up and looking for objects.  The Clifton tunic was another clearance purchase from Boden – I actually ordered all three colors but far preferred the navy so returned the heather and pine.  Unfortunately it is now sold out so no link.  I like the fact it is a layering piece and it looks great over a patterned or plain tank.  The leggings are also Boden – the best quality leggings I have ever bought, and inside my Frye Harness boots I actually also have on my Boden stripy socks.  The necklace is an old J Crew Outlet one that I have wrapped twice around my neck.  I selected my little Tiffany Elsa Peretti diamond earrings as I don’t like wearing bigger earrings with a necklace.  It’s interesting how writing this blog has challenged me to look at my decision making criteria!  The second image shows me in the JohnnieB leather biker jacket that was one of the first items I bought when the AW 2011 season went live.

Clifton tunic, grey leggings, Frye Harness bootsClifton tunic, grey leggings, Frye Harness boots, JohnnieB jacket

So I’m now off to buy treats and paints etc…for the kids to enjoy this rainy afternoon – wish me luck for the play date:)

Music that inspires…

Blimey it’s like a Spring day out there right now – I even ran in a vest – no sleeves required!  A little glimmer of what’s in store for us over the coming months – I can’t wait!

The last tune today is one of my favorite records of ALL time.  Not because it’s a lyrical masterpiece or anything like that, but because I bought it from a record shop on Camden Market and played it over, and over, and over again.  It was my song to get ready to and the song we continued to party to when we got home after a night out.  It still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up – I just LOVE it!  Also it was a hit in 1998 – the year we got married.

Pass me a glass…

Heading to carpool yesterday I realized how absent minded I am sometimes – I’d left the petrol cap unscrewed and the cap cover open on the car after filling up yesterday – fortunately the petrol hadn’t all evaporated or been syphoned off – but duh – makes me wonder how much just passes me by without me taking notice – MM is always telling me I only hear 50% of what he says…

Driving the kids home yesterday was torture – for some reason when they are strapped into their car seats they see it as an opportunity not to sing songs or play games, but to bicker and see who can make who cry first…I know they are tired so I try to be patient, but yesterday I resorted to turning up the volume on the radio in an attempt to block it out.  As soon as we were home they were all sweetness and smiles for Daddy – aaaargggghhh!  So I headed straight to the fridge and opened a bottle of white.  I’ve discovered a lovely little tipple from Trader Joe’s (my new favorite place for wine, though Whole Foods still has great deals) – it’s called Big Day White and it’s cheap as chips.  It’s a blend but I’m no wine snob and it tastes fabulous – really fruity and almost 13% – perfect!  I have friends who have been fans of Trader Joe’s for years and it has taken me longer than most to discover the gem it really is – mainly because we have one of the best Whole Foods in the land just down the road, but for quick, healthy options Trader Joe’s wins.  For supper I had a fabulous piece of Trader Joe’s soy glazed cod with stir fried veggies – as good as any restaurant, half the price and low fat to boot!  Unfortunately, it was followed by three Fortnum & Mason’s butter biscuits which I am still trying to finish.  My fabulous BIL and his family sent me a F&M’s hamper for my 40th, which we saved to enjoy at Christmas, so now the only way to remove these tempting, calorie laden goodies from the house is to eat them.

Mr. UPS swung by last night too – he misses me if we go any longer than a week without seeing each other.  He brought me my best Boden clearance item to date.  When I first saw the Joyful Jersey Dress I have to say I thought it looked frumpy, both online and in the catalogue, and I steered clear all season long, no matter how many rave reviews it won or how many of my friends on the Boden Community praised it.  Until that is I saw one of my lady friends wearing it and looking simply divine. ‘Simple’ being the operative word – I hadn’t considered the plain black option but it looked so simply classic that I had to try it.  I stalked and stalked and low and behold a US6 popped back into stock – swoop, attack, buy – and boy am I glad I did – it is LOVELY.  The same thick jersey as my beloved colorblock tunics, perfectly shaped, and best of all the perfect length.  Can I just say I love it again?  Unfortunately because it was so popular there are none in stock on the site so no link I’m afraid, but I encourage you to stalk:)

Joyful Jersey DressJoyful Jersey Dress

It’s going to be beautiful here again today so I am trying some ‘transitional’ items.  I don’t normally buy Boden trousers as I find them too high waisted but when the straightleg wool crops went into the sale at $38.00 I snapped them up in black, navy pinstripe and slate.  I’m wearing the slate today and I love them.  I’ve tried to wear them with socks and ankle boots in the past but because they are only lined to the knee the wool trouser sticks to my socks – rather unflattering when they bunch up!  I think they look great with ballet flats though, especially my grey flannel Tory Burch Reva flats which I bought last Spring in the sale.  The jumper is the AllSaints Jagger Godiva jumper which is my favorite AllSaints piece right now.  Earrings today are Erica Lyons from Belk, lipstick is Revlon Smoky Rose, nail polish is Revlon Perplex and perfume is DKNY Golden Delicious.

Straightleg wool crops, AllSaints, RevasStraightleg wool crops, AllSaints, Revas

Tory-Burch-Grey-Flannel-Reva

Have lots of work to do this morning as I’m finishing early – MM and I are meeting our contractor/designer this afternoon to start the design phase of our house renovations that we are doing this year.  Very exciting, but a little overwhelming too!

My scent of the 80s

As promised I continue to learn more about US politics and spent last night watching the NBC GOP debate.  Well all I can say is the more I hear and learn the more terrifying the prospect of exercising my franchise becomes.  I shall continue to listen and observe even if at times I want to hide behind my cushion like I used to when watching Dr. Who.  It has to be said that I found the debate significantly more entertaining than my DVRd RHOA – though that isn’t too tough to accomplish.

Woke to a gorgeous sunny morning in Atlanta – the weather here can turn with the flick of a switch and we’re expecting sun all week and temperatures in the mid 60s.  So, panicking that the days available to wear boots may be dwindling fast, I chose today’s outfit around a pair of Frye boots – my brown Veronica Slouches.  The jacket is one I bought early in the season from Boden, then returned thinking I couldn’t justify another tweed jacket, then bought again in the sale after succumbing to pure lust for it.  At one point I would never have dreamed of pairing tweed with stripes but Boden’s patterns and colors have made me more confident about clashing/contrasting them, so I am wearing my striped Hampton tee with it today.  My Hudson Collin jeans are my favorite – these are the mid rise in Dark Elm wash held up with my Gucci belt (a gift from MM).  To be honest I actually prefer the regular rise Collins, and although they are lower they fit around my hips so tend to give less of the undesirable ‘muffin top’ effect.

Boden tweed jacket, Hudsons, FryeSide view

Earrings are again Tiffany – Elsa Peretti teardrops.  I know I am fairly extravagant with my spending but don’t be misguided into thinking that I am constantly in Tiffany’s.  Most of my jewelry has been purchased for me by MM over the years – fortunately he is very extravagant too, and generous.

Tiffany Co Elsa Peretti Teardrop Earrings

I had fun choosing my lipstick this morning.  My favorite brand is Revlon and I have quite a few – I have to say I like cheap and cheerful when it comes to lipsticks.  Occasionally I will splurge on a Chanel lip gloss especially in the summer but when it comes to lips and nails I like a selection to choose from.  Today I am wearing a lovely matte pink – Stormy Pink.

Revlon Stormy Pink

Recently I bought some new perfume as I had used all my Jo Malone Orange Blossom.  I ended up going old skool and bought some YSL Paris which I adore.  It’s true what they say about how evocative scents can be.  It is quite a strong scent but it reminds me so much of the 80s (and MM will tell you how much I love the 80s) and trips to France with my parents.  On the way back on the cross Channel ferry I would always be treated to a ‘duty free’ bottle of perfume and invariably my choice was Paris.

YSL Paris

It’s been a busy morning at work but Tuesdays are always a tad chaotic.  My daughter has ballet classes after school so it is the one day of the week where I sit in the carpool lane and then take her to her class.  The following hour is spent panicking over creating her hair bun, bickering with her over playing games too loudly on my iPhone while we wait, and then chatting exuberantly for 45mins with her classmates’ Moms.  It’s then my turn to collect my son from daycare…hence on Tuesdays I usually hit the bottle as soon as I walk in the door.